Browned Off

Sky News’ slogan is ‘first for breaking news’ and today they proved to be once again first when the channel was the inital broadcaster to pick up on Gordon Brown’s unguarded comments made about voter Gillian Duffy, following a walkabout in Rochdale.



Sky News producer Tami Hoffman, watching the footage from the Sky News Centre in West London, noticed a forced joviality in Brown’s exchange with pensioner Gillian Duffy. This prompted closer examination of the audio, and she was surprised to hear Gordon Brown describing Gillian Duffy as a ‘bigoted woman’ as he drove away in his car. Sky News was the first broadcaster to play the comments on air, before the story hit the BBC, ITV and many online news sites – causing major embarrasment for Gordon Brown and Labour.


Sky’s Political Correspondent Niall Patterson invited Gillian Duffy into Sky News’ satellite truck to listen to Gordon Brown’s comments as he drove away. 

Gordon Brown:  That was a disaster…

Aide:  What did she say?

Gordon Brown: Well, just…You should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that?

Aide: I don’t know, I didn’t see her.

Gordon Brown: It was Sue I think…It’s just ridiculous.

Aide: They’re pictures, I’m not sure they’ll go with that one.

Gordon Brown: They’ll go with it.

Aide: What did she say?

Gordon Brown: Oh, everything, she’s just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to vote Labour.  I mean it is just ridiculous.

Gillian Duffy gave her reaction, after hearing a recording of Gordon Brown’s comments in the Sky News satellite truck:

Gillian Duffy: I’m disgusted.

Sky News Political Correspondent Niall Patterson: Now you said to me before that you are a Labour supporter, what has this done to…

Gillian Duffy:  I don’t think I will vote, I don’t think I’ll vote now.  It’s a postal vote and I don’t have to send it in.  He has just absolutely, well; he has shot me down completely.  It is very upsetting, that.

Niall Patterson: I spoke to you immediately after the exchange and you seemed happy with the answers that he gave you.

Gillian Duffy: What did I say to be bigoted there, what was bigoted in that that I said? I just asked about national debt.


The full video can be seen on the Sky News website here. In a desperate attempt at improving his election campaign Brown has said sorry for the comments made.